Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
An Ondo State high court sitting in Akure, the state capital, began hearing Thursday in a case involving the founder of Sotitobire Miracle Centre, Prophet Alfa Babatunde, and six others over the alleged abduction of a one-year-old baby, Kolawole Gold, at his church last year.
The defendants were all present in court, including one Peter Anjorin, who was at large when the case was first brought before the magistrate’s court.
Prophet Babatunde and other suspects, however, pleaded not guilty to the three-count charges levelled against them.
Other defendants in the case are Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Egunjobi Motunrayo and Esther Kayode.
All efforts by the counsel to the defendants, Mr Olusola Oke, to secure bail for his clients failed.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Grace Olowoporoku, told the court presided over by Justice Ayedun Odusola that counsel to the defendants filed multiple bail applications that were difficult to grant.
Justice Odusola, however, asked Mr Oke to finetune his bail applications pending the next court date in order to commence hearing of the bail applications.
He, thereafter, adjourned the case till the 16th of March for hearing.
Security operatives in uniform and nonuniformed officers stormed the court to avoid a potential breakdown in law and order in a case that has generated intense local interest.
The court was filled to capacity, with members of the public interested in the matter showing up for the hearing.